Kremlin says possible U.S. prisoner swap can only be done ‘in silence’

By Thomson Reuters Feb 14, 2024 | 4:10 AM

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Kremlin, asked on Wednesday about a possible prisoner exchange with the United States, restated its position that such cases can only be resolved “in silence”, meaning that it will not comment on the state of negotiations.

The United States is seeking the release of former Marine Paul Whelan and reporter Evan Gershkovich, both held in Russian prisons on spy charges they deny. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday that he had spoken to Whelan in a rare phone call.

Asked if an exchange was being prepared, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “I want to recall the words of President (Vladimir) Putin in his recent interview that these matters love silence, and they can only be resolved in silence.

“Therefore, in our interests, in the interests of the American side, in the interests of those involved, it is better that this is all decided in silence.”

Putin suggested in an interview with U.S. journalist Tucker Carlson last week that in return for Gershkovich, Moscow wanted Germany to free Vadim Krasikov, who was convicted of the 2019 murder of a Chechen dissident in Berlin.

(Writing by Felix Light; Editing by Mark Trevelyan/Guy Faulconbridge)